Answer in brief.
What are eddy currents? State applications of eddy currents.
Whenever a conductor or a part of it is moved in a magnetic field "cutting'' magnetic field lines, or placed in a changing magnetic field, the free electrons in the bulk of the metal start circulating in closed paths equivalent to current-carrying loops. These loop currents resemble eddies in a fluid stream and are hence called eddy or Foucault currents [after Jean Bernard Leon Foucault (1819-68), French physicist, who first detected them].
- Dead-beat galvanometer: A pivoted moving-coil galvanometer used for measuring current has the coil wound on a light aluminum frame. The rotation of the metal frame in the magnetic field produces eddy currents in the frame which opposes the rotation and the coil is brought to rest quickly. This makes the galvanometer dead-beat.
- Electric brakes: When a conducting plate is pushed into a magnetic field, or pulled out, very quickly, the interaction between the eddy currents in the moving conductor and the field retards the motion. This property of eddy currents is used as a method of braking in vehicles.